Lomo de Horca, San Sebastian
The Buzz Trips View
La Gomera’ Parador (Parador de Turismo Colombino Conde de la Gomera to give it its wordy full title) looks and feels as though it might have been lording it over San Sebastián de La Gomera since an enthusiastic young traveller called Cristóbal Colón sailed into the port in 1492. However, in reality it’s closer to fifty years old rather than five hundred. The location is a bit of a blessing and a curse; commanding views – yes – but after a night in the town it’s a bugger to walk back up the hill and a taxi takes the scenic route; good for the taxi driver, not for your wallet. It is a beautiful Parador with sumptuous gardens whose rustling fronds whisper calming words. After days of walking across La Gomera booking in, turning off and chilling out at the Parador was the perfect way to end our visit.
The style is typically colonial Canarian; red roof tiles, attractive wooden balconies, an exterior of white plasterwork with the occasional exposed stone, charming interiors courtyards, nooks and crannies galore and lush tropical gardens full of discreet hidden corners. What we particularly liked about the gardens was that although they were well maintained (plants are named which is useful), they’re not overly manicured. The hotel sits right above the harbour and has views over the Atlantic to Tenerife and across La Gomera’s capital, San Sebastián. The downside is that it’s a twenty minute hike up from the town. The ambience inside the parador is one of overwhelming tranquillity which is clearly relaxing but in the evening that can topple over into being boring. La Gomera is deservedly known for its superb hiking, but many of the guests don’t look as though they do much hiking. In fact they don’t look as though they do much of anything.
La Gomera’s Parador has 112 rooms but feels intimate. The good-sized rooms fit with the colonial style with polished wooden floors and antique furnishings. The bed was satisfactorily comfortable rather than sigh inducing comfortable and was bizarrely high. I couldn’t imagine diminutive Canarian abuelos being able to get in without a helping shove up. Bathrooms were functional rather than having any ‘wow’ factor. Ours had a seriously unpleasant odour when the taps on the sink were turned on. Rooms have flat screen TVs, mini bars and a safe but no wifi. For that you have to go to the lounge courtyard. One of my favourite aspects to the rooms was the patio looking on to the gardens. It reminded me of a hotel we stayed at in Habarana, Sri Lanka and had a similarly high ‘great spot for relaxing with a bottle of wine’ factor. The doors rattled loudly if there was a whisper of a breeze, but folded up papers worked as a temporary cure.
La Gomera’s Parador has an attractive swimming pool area with wonderful views and the extensive tropical gardens, as mentioned before, are exceptional; perfect for slapping on the sun cream and diving into a book (or switching on the Kindle). Apart from that there’s not much else, this is a place for total R&R. The bar is inviting but service can be a bit of a lottery. The breakfast buffet often gets rave comments on holiday review sites and there is a lot of choice – cheeses, cold meats, pastries, doughnuts, cereals, fruits, eggs, bacon, sausages – but the hot food selections are more tepid than hot. We didn’t eat dinner at the parador as the price seemed excessive for what was basic Canarian cuisine which could be had at a much lower price in San Sebastián.
It feels churlish to say anything negative about the parador as it is a lovely hotel and we thoroughly enjoyed our time staying there. Where the parador let itself down was mainly with things that were minor (modern brass bolts badly screwed on to antique looking doors; hoover cables stretched across the entrance to the dining room during breakfast, plates not cleared from breakfast tables etc.) and what’s all the more frustrating is that nearly all could be eradicated very simply and quickly.
Rooms cost from €139 for 2 persons (breakfast included).
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+